The Fate Of A Collaborator


At one point in the Gothic War during the reign of Justinian, the Romans (or as we would now call them, “Byzantines”) under Belisarius were besieging a Gothic garrison at the town of Osimo in Italy.  The blockade of the town was very effective, and the inhabitants had been reduced to eating almost anything to stay alive.  But they were hoping to get some relief from the siege; their plan was to beg the Gothic commander Vittigis at the city of Ravenna to come to their aid.

Continue reading

Unusual Battle Injuries In Ancient Combat


The historian Procopius relates some unusual combat injuries of the Gothic War, which took place from 535 to 554 A.D. as part of the emperor Justinian’s attempt to bring back the Italic peninsula and its environs back into the Roman fold.  A few incidents stand out as worth of relation here.  In our modern age of firearms and high-velocity projectile weapons, we forget that battlefield wounds from swords, javelins, and spears had their own bizarre qualities.

Continue reading

Any City Can Be Taken


Any fortress can be stormed, and any city can be taken.  It is a matter of using the correct tactics, combined with daring and imaginative leadership.  Some citadels fall to guile, and others to brute force; still others yield to a combination of the two.  We will consider the fall of Naples, an event that took place during the Gothic War (A.D. 535-554).  This was one of the emperor Justinian’s wars to reassert imperial control over Italy from the occupying Goths.

Continue reading